For a few years in junior high and high school, I used to keep a journal. One that chronicled the ins and outs of my days navigating the seas of homework, parental issues and relationships. After my diary was read inappropriately I didn't feel safe writing down my thoughts and feelings anymore for fear that they would be found out and used against me again in some hurtful way. I think that journaling is an important means of therapy - to cleanse our mental banks of the days occurrences and to filter through frustrations and again celebrate life's small joys. As I have been moving and subsequently cleaning out a lot of items from my collection, I have come across a few of these old journals. And to read them now after so many years gives me new insight into who I am, and how I became this person. There are things written in the journals that are trivial and nonsensical. But there are also slight glimpses into a struggling soul that was seeking guidance and answers.
Just today I was perusing through the folders of an old email account that I used back in college. And there tucked away in a message folder entitled "old stuff" I found love letters from a past boyfriend. For anonymity's sake, we will call him Dan. Dan and I had a long distance relationship for about a year when we first started dating. I remember that summer with butterflies in my stomach. It was a summer that I will never forget - for many reasons, one of which is Dan. Ours was a relationship that bloomed unexpectedly to everyone except maybe his dad who had been pushing us towards each other for many years. And then that summer came - the summer that Dan graduated from UNL and took a job in a city almost 600 miles away. After a few weeks of uncertainty, awkwardness and butterflies between us we finally began "dating." And within two weeks, Dan had moved away.
We continued with a non-committed long distance relationship that quickly blossomed into a full fledged courtship via email, phone calls and the occasional weekend visit. Looking through these emails that I recently discovered in an old email account gave me a new appreciation for the simple things in life - love letters, communication of life goals, wants and desires, allowing another person to enter into the deepest parts of your soul through the written words of your heart.
The communication of that relationship seemed to come so naturally for me back then - and was welcomed and reciprocated with Dan's love and openness to share. And yet, I feel as if I have lost sight of how to communicate at that level and to feel heard. Am I still capable of expressing my thoughts and feelings so openly with another without fear of hurt and pain? Have we become so complacent in our existing relationships that we no longer feel the need to connect in this way anymore?
Or are we having the same conversations and level of communication as I was with Dan, but just expressing it in a different way? I don't vividly remember the feelings and closeness that I apparently had with Dan. Is it possible that I do not see those same things in my current relationship because we are being drowned out by the surrounding white noise of life, career, commitments and concerns?